Friday, August 15, 2003

Voters won't decide fate of big box stores
HOMER (AP) The Homer City Council has rejected two measures that would have asked residents to determine size limits for large retail stores. Council members decided the issues were too complicated to go before voters on Oct. 7 municipal ballot.

Police identify body found under footbridge
ANCHORAGE (AP) Police have identified the body of a man found in the water under a footbridge at an Anchorage trail.

GPS collar tracks relocated garbage bear
JUNEAU (AP) A black bear lurking in the Mendenhall Valley woods holds secrets that Neil Barten is anxious to unlock.

Fairbanks biologist takes on bait ban
ANCHORAGE (AP) A Fairbanks hunter has filed a complaint in Superior Court to halt an initiative drive by proponents of a bear-baiting ban.

State to seek offshore test wells near ANWR
JUNEAU (AP) State officials hope to entice oil companies into drilling an offshore test well near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge next winter.

Trade adjustment aid will help Alaska fishermen
ANCHORAGE (AP) Alaska fishermen will qualify for federal aid under the new Trade Adjustment Assistance program set up for farmers, but they will have to act quickly to qualify this year.

BLM starts work on firefighter housing
FAIRBANKS (AP) Construction is starting on a new $15 million, 70,000-square-foot building at Fort Wainwright that will provide seasonal housing for Alaska Fire Service firefighters.

Municipalities face high insurance costs, cuts
JUNEAU (AP) State cuts to municipalities, combined with the rising cost of municipal insurance, have some communities scrambling to fill gaps in their budgets.

St. Michael voters keep alcohol prohibition
ANCHORAGE (AP) St. Michael voters have decided to continue the ban on alcohol that has been in place for 17 years.

Labor Department reports slight employment jump for July
JUNEAU (AP) Unemployment in Alaska fell less than a percent in July as the state reached its traditional peak of summer employment, the labor department said Friday.

Veteran pleads guilty to wire fraud
ANCHORAGE (AP) An Anchorage man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for charging the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for more than $450,000 in bus repairs that were never done.

Inlet fisherman say fish closures unnecessary
KENAI (AP) Cook Inlet commercial fishermen say state Fish and Game officials needlessly prevented them from harvesting thousands of sockeye salmon this summer.

Troopers investigate drownings of two Kotzebue men
KOTZEBUE (AP) A Kotzebue man who attempted to swim to a nearby camp to get help after a fight broke out between his two uncles drowned, Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday.

Woman wins lawsuit in daughter's disappearance
KODIAK (AP) A Kodiak woman has won a wrongful death lawsuit against the man last seen with her 16-year-old daughter before the girl disappeared in 1998.

Fairbanks sees lower gas prices than Anchorage
FAIRBANKS (AP) Fairbanks motorists have long complained about paying more for gasoline than drivers in Anchorage, but this week the tables were turned.

Child support protester enters plea
ANCHORAGE (AP) A man who lit his car on fire in front of state offices and kicked a window out of a police car was sentenced to three years in prison with all time suspended except for 40 days already served.

Alaskans get big federal payback
FAIRBANKS (AP) For every tax dollar the federal government collected from Alaska in fiscal 2002, it spent $1.91 in the state, according to an estimate by a tax watchdog group.

Delta officials say Army erred in range preference
FAIRBANKS (AP) Delta Junction officials say a mathematical error by the U.S. Army is good reason a U.S. District Court judge should stop a planned expansion of a training range just outside the city.

District attorney takes job with attorney general
FAIRBANKS (AP) Fairbanks District Attorney Teresa Foster has accepted a position as an assistant attorney general with the statewide Office of Special Prosecutions.

Inlet fisherman say fish closures unnecessary
KENAI (AP) Cook Inlet commercial fishermen say state Fish and Game officials needlessly prevented them from harvesting thousands of sockeye salmon this summer.

Anchorage trail watch volunteers begin training
ANCHORAGE (AP) Volunteers have begun training on Anchorage's sprawling trail system as a way to promote safety.

Anchorage prosecutor files kidnapping, abuse charges in airport case
ANCHORAGE (AP) The man accused of snatching a 3-year-old as her mother slept at the Anchorage airport was charged Thursday with kidnapping and sexual abuse of a minor.

Restoration on track for rusty railcar
ANCHORAGE (AP) As the Alaska Railroad and mass-transit advocates plan for the future of passenger rail travel in the state, another group is aiming to preserve a piece of its past.

Ketchikan group takes steps toward consolidation
KETCHIKAN (AP) A citizens' group has taken the first step toward seeking a vote on consolidating Ketchikan's two governments.

Audit under way in Anchorage archdiocese
ANCHORAGE (AP) An audit is under way in the Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage to determine whether adequate policies and procedures are in place to protect children and deal with sexual abuse issues.

Interior road projects back on state list
FAIRBANKS (AP) The state Department of Transportation has restored a North Pole highway interchange project to a list of items that will be funded by a 2002 state transportation bond issue.

Fairbanks school district changes drug policy
FAIRBANKS (AP) The Fairbanks North Star School Board has changed its drug and alcohol policy after a lawsuit was filed over it.

Couple pleads no contest in embezzlement case
ANCHORAGE (AP) A former state investigator and his wife pleaded no contest to charges they embezzled about $25,000 from the Alaska Peace Officer's Association between 1998 and 2000.

Fairbanks voters have choices in elections
FAIRBANKS (AP) Voters will have choices in all the upcoming borough elections in Fairbanks.

Forest Service extending public comment period
ANCHORAGE (AP) The U.S. Forest Service has extended the public comment periods on proposals to exclude Alaska's Tongass and Chugach national forests from a national policy called the roadless rule.

More inlet sockeye qualify for brand name
JUNEAU (AP) More than 100,000 pounds of Cook Inlet sockeye salmon have qualified for the Kenai Wild brand name in the second year of the program.

Body of missing woman found
NOME (AP) A woman reported missing from Unalakleet earlier this week was found dead.

Anchorage police seek home invasion robber
ANCHORAGE Anchorage police were searching Wednesday for a man who forced his way into a trailer home and robbed the residents, hitting a 54-year-old woman over the head with a gun.

Possible Williams buyer has tarnished environmental past
ANCHORAGE (AP) A Kansas company that Governor Murkowski says is interested in buying the Williams Alaska Petroleum oil refinery in North Pole has a record of major environmental violations in the Lower 48.

Kuskokwim Native leader Mellick dies
ANCHORAGE (AP) Kuskokwim Native leader Nick Mellick Jr. has died at the age of 71.

Fishermen say federal aid program falls short
JUNEAU (AP) The needs of Alaska fishermen hurt by the downturn in the fishing industry are not being met by a federal assistance program designed for industries adversely affected by foreign trade, according to Alaskans attending a federal hearing in Juneau.

Dutch Harbor processor settles pollution case
ANCHORAGE (AP) A seafood processor operating in Dutch Harbor will pay half of a $105,000 fine to settle air pollution violations.

Fairbanks biologist takes on bait ban
ANCHORAGE (AP) A Fairbanks hunter has filed a complaint in Superior Court to half an initiative drive by proponents of a bear-baiting ban.

Airline pilot convicted on fish and game charges
ANCHORAGE (AP) A jury in Dillingham has convicted an airline pilot on numerous misdemeanor fish and game charges.

Municipalities face high insurance costs, cuts
JUNEAU (AP) State cuts to municipalities, combined with the rising cost of municipal insurance, have some communities scrambling to fill gaps in their budgets.

Devil Rays recover to post win over Orioles
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. After Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella was ejected during a hat-kicking tirade in the ninth inning, the Devil Rays beat Baltimore 6-5 on Travis Lee's RBI double in the 10th Wednesday.

Indians come alive in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS Travis Hafner hit for the cycle and Brian Anderson came within two outs of a shutout Thursday as the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 8-3.

Alou powers Cubs to win over Astros at Wrigley
CHICAGO Moises Alou hit a three-run homer and Chicago's bullpen didn't allow a run over the final 4 2-3 innings as the Cubs beat the Houston Astros 6-4 Wednesday.

Twins finish Legion season on high note
The American Legion Twins baseball program finished the season on a high note, winning the 2004 American Legion Preview Tournament last weekend in Anchorage.

Streaking Cardinals swarm Pirates
PITTSBURGH Garrett Stephenson made his second straight strong start, limiting Pittsburgh to five hits over eight innings, and Tino Martinez homered as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pirates 4-3 Thursday.

Rose wants more than a foot in the door at baseball's Hall of Fame
Dracula must be Pete Rose's press agent. How else to explain a cause that was laid to rest a half-dozen times since 1989 climbing out of the grave yet one more time at the start of this week?

Wild-card race gets fishy
MIAMI The Florida Marlins have been behind all season.

General Mills defies corporate trend with art collection
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) Legend has it that in 1958, when General Mills moved into its new headquarters, Charlie Bell, who was then the company's president, took a look around and said, ''It's too gray in here. We've got to do something to enliven this building.''

Private health insurance is available if you look around
NEW YORK (AP) Every year, millions of Americans who have health insurance through employers lose it for one reason or another: They're laid off, they retire early, they head off to college.

Still a ways to go to mend corporate earnings
NEW YORK (AP) Corporate earnings sure looked good during the last quarter. Better than they were, actually.

New funds to keep branding program 'Wild'
The Cook Inlet Salmon Branding Project is set to tap federal and private-industry grant money that will allow the year-old Kenai Wild program to add more fishers and inspectors to the ranks of those committed to delivering a better seafood product to high-end niche markets, a move aimed at revitalizing the sagging inlet salmon industry.

Retailers profit from boomers' rock star fantasies
Before setting out to earn a Ph.D. in psychology roughly 30 years ago, Richard Holloway was a full-time singer-songwriter, performing at nightclubs and universities with a variety of backup bands.

Good news: July retail sales make strong rise
WASHINGTON America's shoppers threw caution to the wind and splurged in July on cars, appliances and clothes, catapulting sales at the nation's retailers by 1.4 percent, the biggest increase in four months.

Mat-Su Borough gauges interest in Hatcher Pass resort proposal
ANCHORAGE (AP) Matanuska-Susitna Borough officials say the time is finally right for a four-season Hatcher Pass resort, and they're taking their message nationwide.

Negotiators aren't credit counselors
Many consumers are experiencing the stress that comes with mounting credit card debt. With the unemployment rate still rising, more families are depending on credit just to make ends meet. The Better Business Bureau warns over-burdened consumers to beware of companies that promise to cut their bills in half by negotiating low payoff amounts from creditors.

Kenai Peninsula's fall color -- silver
There's a silver lining on the clouds which descended upon the Kenai Peninsula last week. Make that a silver salmon lining.

New coach, same pride
Ned Clooten takes the reins of the Nikiski High School program this season after the Bulldogs went without a championship banner for the first time in five years last season.

Soldotna Junior Varsity
Soldotna Junior Varsity

Nikiski Junior Varsity
Nikiski Junior Varsity

Kards restock to defend championship
Last season, Kenai Central junior Dakota Craig made holes for Cory Janson. This season, Craig will be filling Janson's shoes.

Seward back in rebuilding mode
Cliff Draper, in his second year as head coach in Seward, will try and lead the Seahawks to their third-straight small-schools playoff berth.

Skyview Varsity Roster
Skyview Varsity

Kenai Central Junior Varsity
Kenai Junior Varsity

Soldotna Varsity Roster
Soldotna Varsity

Nikiski Varsity Roster
Nikiski Varsity

Skyviw Junior Varsity
Skyview Junior Varsity

Skyview full of new faces
Fans of Skyview High School football may not recognize their team this year.

Kenai Central Varsity Roster
Kenai Varsity

Homer banks on strong running game
If new head coach Kelly Blake has his way, blankets and hot chocolate should not be necessary at Homer High School football games this fall.

Soldotna shakes off loss in title game
For a lot of programs, losing 28 seniors after getting to the small-schools state championship and losing would be cause for serious self-doubt and questioning.

All the view, half the work
For those looking for a rewarding outdoor excursion, but who don't want to hike long miles of quad busting ups and downs to take in a blow-you-away view, the Bear Mountain trail may be just right.

Fox sues, Franken frowns
NEW YORK Al Franken, the humorist being sued by Fox News Channel for use of the phrase ''fair and balanced,'' said Tuesday he doesn't mind the legal action.

Shakespeare fans weather lightning, storms for the show
SAND HARBOR, Nev. The hail and lightening have stopped and the trail of smoke is slowing from a small wildfire burning on the mountainside just above Lake Tahoe.

Art Briefs
Nominations sought for arts and humanities awardsArt classes offeredMuseum seeks volunteersVendors wanted for safety rodeoArtists in Schools solicits interest

Anthropologist looks at Athabascan issues
Alaska's rural Native villagers live at the intersection of traditional culture and the conquering Euro-American society. For some, the collision is catastrophic, yet others find ways to build lives encompassing both views of the world.

Live music venue strives to be open to everyone
Every band has big dreams they aspire to, whether it's concert tours, recording contracts, fame, fortune, Grammies, groupies or the cover of Rolling Stone. But before bands can put much thought into achieving the big dreams, there are some smaller ones that need to be dealt with first like having a place to play.

What's Happening
Best BetsEvents and ExhibitsEntertainmentUpcoming EventsFilmsDown the RoadAnchorage Events

Horrific rivalry hits big screen: 'Freddy vs. Jason'
No one really wins in ''Freddy vs. Jason,'' the showdown between horror icons Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees except maybe the manufacturers of their trademark red-and-green striped sweater and hockey mask, which prove indestructible.

Newcomer McKeown wants to be an original
NEW YORK There are shades of Fiona Apple and Natalie Merchant in Erin McKeown's voice, a jazzy instrument that winds and sighs its way through her latest disc, ''Grand.''

What does trend in value of salmon in inlet's commercial harvest mean?
1994-2002 Upper Cook Inlet Commercial Salmon Harvests Ex-vessel Values:

It's very American to be suspicious, and question those in authority
I am so happy that I am an American! I must admit, though, to not always being proud of it.

Who is looking out for Alaska's interests in refinery negotiations?
Should Alaska negotiate contracts with felonious companies?

Bike path nearing completion is good news for bikers, runners
Finally. I'm so glad to hear that the bike path will be completed. It is amazing the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities could put so much money into a project that would be used by so many people only to have one person be able to hold it up for ransom!

Nikiski, Seward open up conference play
The Great Land Conference wastes no time getting into important games, with Nikiski traveling to Eielson and Seward playing host to Houston in just the second week of the season.

Newsmaker: Ryan Newman
Ryan Newman, the second-year driver who leads the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with four victories, seems to be putting all the pieces together to make a run for the championship as soon as 2004.

Race Schedule
February 16 to November 16, 2003

Money Leaders
1. Jimmie Johnson $3,877,7302. Kurt Busch 3,640,1503. Michael Waltrip 3,363,485

Dale Jr., stepmom dispute contract
BROOKLYN, Mich. The standoff between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt, is more about a clash of wills than money.

Points Leaders
1. Matt Kenseth 3,2942. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3,0363. Jeff Gordon 2,898

This week's race: GFS Marketplace 400
Where and When

Drivers say circuit needs full-time rescue crews
BROOKLYN, Mich. If Jeff Gordon had been injured, even slightly, during his final lap crash last Sunday at Watkins Glen, N.Y., he could have bled to death before the got to the infield hospital.

Fishers: Too many got past nets
The last of the upper Cook Inlet commercial fishing fleet came into harbor over the weekend, marking the end of another commercial salmon season. Although the fishery significantly exceeded expectations for the season on several accounts, an abundance of fish still got past commercial gillnets, which is bad news for the Kenai Peninsula's present and future.

Officials mopping up fire near Skilak Lake
Fire crews continued work on the west flank of a fire near Skilak Lake on Wednesday, aided considerably by rainfall in the early morning hours.

Sudden blackout strikes Northeast
A sudden blackout robbed electricity from millions of people

Carter resigns from EDD
Kenai Peninsula Economic Develop-ment District Director James Carter announced his resignation Friday and will leave to take a position with a bank in Fairbanks.

4-H youth getting ready for annual livestock sale
The months of long, hard work put in by the kids in the 4-H Junior Market Livestock (JML) program is about to pay off literally.

Badges reborn
From now on, whenever Soldotna Police officers flash their badges, they'll be showing off a piece of original artwork by Soldotna teen Mark Harro.

Fair offers family events
It's that time of the year again: The Kenai Peninsula State Fair is back this weekend and has many new things for the family to do, according to its organizers.

HEA board member Fred Braun resigns
Homer Electric Board member Fred Braun resigned from the utility company's board of directors Wednesday after 21 years.

Photo feature: Raindrops are falling
Raindrops coat a window of a car parked near a field of fireweed Thursday afternoon.

Gravel pit creates rocky relationship
An April decision by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission allowing a new gravel pit near Anchor Point has been appealed by a neighboring land-owner and will be the subject of a Board of Adjustment hearing before the assembly Wednesday.

Armed robbers strike
Two armed robberies were reported to Soldotna police within an hour of each other late Wednesday night.

HEA receives federal grant
Homer Electric Association realized a significant windfall Monday when the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the member-owned utility $1.9 million. The grant will pay for installation of the submarine cable that crosses Kachemak Bay linking the utility's energy network with south Kachemak communities.

Gary Soren Christopherson
Former Alaska resident Gary Soren Christopherson died Sunday, Aug. 10, 2003, in Mankato, Minn. He was 59.

Some advice always holds true: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Welcome to life in the 21st century, where once-familiar terms take on different meanings.

Constitution goes on trial in Padilla case
One of the most important legal cases in U.S. history is before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. At stake is nothing less than the rule of law and the freedoms Americans hold dear.

Running for local office one way for residents to change community
Wanted: Caring, concerned, knowledgeable individuals desiring to make the community where they live a better place. On call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Good listening skills required. Big dose of patience helpful. Ability to read volumes of boring reports without falling asleep a big plus. Attendance at several night meetings necessary. Broad shoulders and thick skin a must. Pay virtually nil. Major benefit is knowing that you're doing something good for your community. Deadline for applications: today.

Oil reserve protects nation's economy
With the continuing fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and new terrorist bombings in cities around the globe, it is clear that the crisis that began on Sept. 11, 2001, is still with us.

Ashcroft methods begin to wear thin, even with Republican suporters
Attorney General John Ashcroft's scowling, swaggering, dyspeptic antipathy for anyone who questions his methods and authority is transforming him and his office into mere caricature.

UAF to study berries, health
FAIRBANKS (AP) The University of Alaska Fairbanks is asking for berry donations, any kind of berries, raspberries, cranberries, even cloudberries and crowberries.

Get the lead out: Loon conservation efforts under way on the Kenai Peninsula
Spending a few nights in the Swanson River Canoe System provided me a great opportunity to admire some of the finest that Mother Nature has to offer. Among those charms I witnessed on my weekend in the Canoe System was the presence of the common loon.

Around the Peninsula
Congressional mobile office to visit Ninilchik Kenai Eagles plan dinner fund-raiser KVCC to celebrate Alaska heritage Sterling seniors hold annual sweepstakes raffle Back-to-school immunizations available Cooperative Extension nutrition classes continue United Way annual kickoff scheduled Residents invited to open gym Hospital service area board meeting slated

Around the Peninsula
Healthy Communities meeting slatedSenior housing meeting plannedImmunization clinics expanded in HomerWalk series continues at refugeGirl Scouts plan garage saleRCAC to hold series of public meetingsRegistration for basketball beginsMountain View to hold open houseFinal motocross races scheduled

Church Briefs
Shabbat service planned tonigh Operation Winter Warm-up under way Womens Bible study offered Friendship closet open Wednesdays

Texas Catholic employees refuse reinstatement offer from diocese
McALLEN, Texas (AP) Four lay workers who were fired in a labor dispute with a Roman Catholic diocese have rejected a reinstatement offer, saying it doesn't mention job security or unionization.

Leader of Malaysia's Muslim party says women are unsuited for certain jobs
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Feminist and legal groups have chided the leader of Malaysia's Islamic opposition party for saying women are not suited for certain jobs because of ''women's instinct.''

In Christ you can do all things if you remember to ask first
I am amazed at the endless number of possibilities we have in our lives because of the promises God has given us through Christ Jesus.

Texas critics say publisher changed textbooks to please creation advocates
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Critics say the publisher Holt, Rinehart & Winston changed a biology textbook being considered for Texas schools to cave in to conservatives on the state's elected Board of Education.

A divisive debate over the Bible spotlighted Episcopalians' OK for gay bishop
As the Episcopal Church agonized over the confirmation of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop and now as his endorsement threatens to split the denomination some have wondered why homosexuality is such a divisive issue in Christianity.

U.S. Catholicism to revise movie classification
WASHINGTON (AP) The U.S. Catholic bishops' film office said it will change its moral ratings for features aimed at adult audiences to respond to what it called increased violence, sexuality, dirty language and adult themes onscreen.

Detroit black church marks 50th anniversary
DETROIT (AP) The Shrine of the Black Madonna, a congregation that celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer, says it wants to reach out and increase its ranks by attracting more young people.

Amish-Mennonites in Kentucky face dilemma of faith vs. national security
LIBERTY, Ky. (AP) From the swing on his Kentucky homestead's front porch, Lester Beachy exchanges waves with a family from his church as they return home in their van.

Black churches, banks build partnership in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) One year after area black churches asked banks for affordable services and better treatment for their members, a new partnership is being launched.

Birch Ridge Report: Autumn on the approach
Autumn is definitely lurking outside yellow leaves are swirling around driveways, flowers are wilting from exhaustion, some people are sheep hunting while others are mowing the lawn (Did I write that out loud?).

Eagles could be down another running back
BETHLEHEM, Pa. The Philadelphia Eagles might be missing another running back.

X Games getting bigger each year
LOS ANGELES All of 250 people were there for Jamie Bestwick's first BMX competition in 1984, near his hometown of Nottingham, England.

Lefty shares lead with Pampling at 4-under; Woods struggling at 4-over
ROCHESTER, N.Y. No one had to remind Phil Mickelson.

49ers' Dorsey continues winning ways
SAN FRANCISCO Ken Dorsey still knows how to win, even when it's only for Bay area bragging rights.

Debunking lemming myths
Lemmings do not commit mass suicide. It's a myth, but it's remarkable how many people believe it. Ask a few.

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